To Save Her - THE END


Kaye Haychold's ambitious plan

To Save Her - THE END

Postby Plasman » Sun Jul 19, 2009 9:42 pm

And, this is the end... The real one, this time. Pho rushes off To Save Her, giving us a(n almost) Happy Ending.
^v^
Congratulations, Creatrix. Very well done. 8) 8) 8)

PS. I also noticed that Lisabeth Kundtlekker(!) has since agreed to an interview... ;]
If this last post seems ridiculous, please disregard it. Thank you. ;)
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Re: To Save Her - THE END

Postby Monocheres » Sun Jul 19, 2009 9:55 pm

Let's give it up for the Creatrix. Alright now, everybody give her a BIG HAND!!! Woo hoo!
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Re: To Save Her - THE END

Postby Ashes » Sun Jul 19, 2009 11:54 pm

You made me get all misty-eyed at the end.
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Re: To Save Her - THE END

Postby Volair » Mon Jul 20, 2009 12:33 am

BRAV-the-hell-O

Okay, Jennifer. You have always inspired the hell out of me. Your world-building is the sort of stuff I *wish* I could pull off. Amazing, really. Towards the end of Unicorn Jelly you were accomplishing feats with exactly-two-colors and with a damned MOUSE that I have yet to duplicate with a pressure-sensitive tablet. Your stories are always intriguing little puzzle-boxes and I love them.

I say all this so you will understand that what I'm about to say is not a backhanded compliment: This is the first time you've really stuck an ending RIGHT.

There are little comprehension things that are still left over to wonder over at the end of this one, but the emotion of the ending is dead-on exactly-bloody-right and you are to be roundly, solidly congratulated for it.

The ending of Unicorn Jelly had pacing problems, and so was never going at quite the right "speed" to end correctly. The very end is right, but the part between the near-end and the end-end feels like a hand-wave. Pastel Defender Heliotrope had a similar problem: Too much ground was being covered near the end, and the emotional impact got lost.

But To Save Her? Absolutely STUCK the landing. The pacing was perfectly right, and the ending was exactly what I was waiting for. Explanation. Redemption. Knowledge none of this was easy or free. A grim-faced smile that remembers where the blood stains on the trophy came from. And a closing line-- oh, just like out of the black-and-white movies.

Seriously, it's on level with "the--ah, stuff that dreams are made of".



Actually this always felt like an old black-and-white movie or show. The art blew me away repeatedly with the blacks and shadow and lighting and-- so much awe for that. Dialog too. Really very very much in place with the environment. Pacing, incidentially was strong the whole way through. Lockstep. Clockwork. Maybe not "Watchmen" precise but TIGHT. Clean. In the end, gorgeous.

Bravo, Jennifer. Brav-with-a-gorram-moon-on-a-farking-chain-O.
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Re: To Save Her - THE END

Postby Mitsukara » Mon Jul 20, 2009 1:24 am

Weaving, eh? Also, I just love the use of what looks very, very close to the original Chou font (random comparison from the archives).

I like this ending, but I find myself with some questions. What manner of prison is Kaye being kept in? And by the Min-yan, no less (did Fuschia ever find out this bit of information, or was this part of "OoO"s side plans that she didn't explain?)? Surely with ChOoOu on their side, Pho will indeed find Kaye beyond that door, I think... I find myself thinking about what would've happened next. They'd have all the time in the world to talk and work things out, I like to think. :) Also, I still wonder what Vola wound up doing in Pho's old home splay! Although I really appreciate the artistic note that we already saw the last word on her all that time ago.

There are a couple things that confuse me. Chou says: "Always a noble knight you are, rushing to save those you keep in your heart. My own waits for me in the distant past." Waits for her? Does she intend to return to... her Pho? Maybe? Hmm... maybe his body was lost in the rubble in that mine cave in...?

(You know, it really also dawns on me that while Heliotrope and Fuschia were all heroic and sentimental about the idea of "save everyone", that while she is quite a bit more mechanical in mind, Chou is equipped and has reason to be similarly motivated herself, perhaps. Wasn't that what all this planning on her part was, after all?)

The other thing that confuses me is the last panel in 371, where there seem to be many Phos- what does this represent?

This ending does flow very smoothly from the story, although it came a little more suddenly than I realized- not abruptly per se, I just didn't realize that it was down to the final minutes. Still, I think it is absolutely awesome ^^

That said, I really did like the ending of Pastel a great deal... well, okay, I'll be honest, it completely blew me away and went in a much more defined direction than I had any expectation of, and in the most pleasing of ways; sure, plenty of stories say "happily ever after", but most stories don't just jump out and say "we built heaven for everyone so it's real!" at the end, and if they do try something like that, they usually do it in a clumsy and awful way, or in confusing "artsy" fashion that makes it abstract and up to the viewer to figure out if that's what they meant at all, neither of which did Pastel fall prey to. It was bad ass, in my opinion.

I also liked the end of Unicorn Jelly; the epilogue was nice, but it felt almost like a secondary story about just the fate of the race in general (although this was a nice little link to the past); I tend to think of Chou's final... well, I guess a little less final than it seemed... memory, about Lupiko, as the main end of the story (after all, an epilogue is an afterthought, connected yet not the climax).

The flash of the unicorn at the end, as Lupiko fades away... the unanswered questions... really, that was the meaning of Unicorn Jelly, I would say, and the meaning of, as I like to think, the only Unicorn Jelly (I love double entendres)- the unknowable, the questions, the nagging mystery. Real life has it, and it can be both a miserable fact and a beacon of hope against the bleakest of possibilities- the way that, while you can assume, you can never truly know until you're in the moment. Death, of course, was a thread to the story and of course centric in this unknowability, but the same questions can apply to anything and everything. Is it magic, or science, or science that looks like magic, or maybe real magic after all...?

Contrasted, of course, against Pastel- except that if one is keen on it one can suggest (as indeed Jennifer has supplied an idea for before, about how perhaps the Min-yan would not keep up the nigh-infinite task of saving everyone, and Heliotrope and Fuschia might get distracted and not oversee them to make sure it was seen through properly) ways in which it's ending does not cover all bases. It's up to the reader, which is always the case.

To Save Her is a character story, not to say that Unicorn Jelly or Pastel didn't have deep and centric characters; but To Save Her sees it through at all times. The ending, while pondrous, is less concerned with big notions like "is the Unicorn real?" and building heaven and eons of time and what becomes of things- it is simply a character moment, for Mr. Pho and for Chou and for the fate of Kaye.

All in all, a very very fine piece of work, and I have enjoyed it greatly. Thank you for sharing it with us and persevering through those 8 and a half times and those 9 bouts of malady, Milady! And congratulations!
W!!

----------------------

Now, there is one big problem for Jennifer or Stephen, and I hope I'm not being a troublesome nag to bring it up twice in a short amount of time since I mentioned it in a long winded antsy Mitsyspeak PM. The main page is hiding this ending (as in people who check in casually for updates without checking the forum aren't likely to see it)! The front page at pasteldefender.com still shows the apology! (also, you probably want to make sure that the archive page stops showing the ending after a while, so new readers don't always wind up seeing the ending first).

Additionally, there is a linking issue on the forward/back buttons still - forward from 368 goes to the main pasteldefender.com page. On the pasteldefender.com page, as afforementioned showing the apology, pushing back takes us to 368- so the back and forward buttons don't let us see the ending at all. The ending page, at the top of the archive page, goes back to 367 as it should, but that's the only working part- 367's next button goes to the 368 (by itself) page.

Put more visually, it's like:

~ On the main pasteldefender.com index ~
Current: The apology
[368 by itself <-back-] (no next button since this is the "current" page)

~ On the main archive page ~
Current: 368 through the very end
[367 by itself <-back-] (no next button since this is current)

~ 367 by itself ~
[366 by itself <-back-] [-next-> 368 by itself]

- 368 by itself -
[377 by itself <-back-] [-next-> pasteldefender.com main index (the apology)]

Hopefully what I'm pointing out makes sense. :explode:
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Re: To Save Her - THE END

Postby Plasman » Mon Jul 20, 2009 1:32 am

For bonus points - compare the very first panel with the last. A good illustration of how far Jennifer's art has developed.
If this last post seems ridiculous, please disregard it. Thank you. ;)
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Re: To Save Her - THE END

Postby onigame » Mon Jul 20, 2009 4:06 am

I do think that the very last strip seems to be missing a "Special Guest Star" credit for Chou Yaru.
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Re: To Save Her - THE END

Postby Jennifer Diane Reitz » Mon Jul 20, 2009 4:23 am

Mitsukara wrote:I like this ending, but I find myself with some questions. What manner of prison is Kaye being kept in?


Some little pocket paradise. Likely something like a super-holodeck where wishes come true. I originally pictured it as a kind of eden, all natural and lovely, with nothing that could harm. And Kaye with a fully humanoid body all her own.

Pho will indeed find Kaye beyond that door, I think... I find myself thinking about what would've happened next. They'd have all the time in the world to talk and work things out, I like to think. :) Also, I still wonder what Vola wound up doing in Pho's old home splay! Although I really appreciate the artistic note that we already saw the last word on her all that time ago.


Pho will absolutely find Kaye beyond that door. That ultimately is the meaning of the title, "To Save Her" - Pho's love, friendship and attention was always meant to save Kaye from her bitterness and self loathing. What do I mean by 'always meant'? Well, an Ascended is outside of normal time, and Chou gained Ascension thanks to Kaye going pants, so... as is ever was.

As for Vola, she becomes Goddess-Empress of Khan-land. She has 'magical powers' (her scanning toy and medical kit) and is immortal. Only 150 years later, that place is tech. She has absolute power, and all the wealth of an entire universe, not to mention everyone serves her ever whim. Oddly, she is still never really happy.

There are a couple things that confuse me. Chou says: "Always a noble knight you are, rushing to save those you keep in your heart. My own waits for me in the distant past." Waits for her? Does she intend to return to... her Pho? Maybe? Hmm... maybe his body was lost in the rubble in that mine cave in?


All things wait in the relative past for someone who can travel in time.

The other thing that confuses me is the last panel in 371, where there seem to be many Phos- what does this represent?


The Ascended don't just see a person, they see the alternate possibilities of a person within a specified moment, from outside time. We see an interpretation of her view of Pho, briefly, in that panel.

The flash of the unicorn at the end, as Lupiko fades away... the unanswered questions... really, that was the meaning of Unicorn Jelly, I would say, and the meaning of, as I like to think, the only Unicorn Jelly (I love double entendres)- the unknowable, the questions, the nagging mystery. Real life has it, and it can be both a miserable fact and a beacon of hope against the bleakest of possibilities- the way that, while you can assume, you can never truly know until you're in the moment. Death, of course, was a thread to the story and of course centric in this unknowability, but the same questions can apply to anything and everything. Is it magic, or science, or science that looks like magic, or maybe real magic after all...?


You absolutely 'Get' it. What I was trying to do. The Point. The crux, the focus, the meaning. Yes.

To Save Her is a character story, not to say that Unicorn Jelly or Pastel didn't have deep and centric characters; but To Save Her sees it through at all times. The ending, while pondrous, is less concerned with big notions like "is the Unicorn real?" and building heaven and eons of time and what becomes of things- it is simply a character moment, for Mr. Pho and for Chou and for the fate of Kaye.


Absolutely. My watchwords for To Save Her were "This is a people story. People. Focus on relationships between people!"

There is nothing more cosmic to To Save Her, really, than one person loving another enough to be willing to go into isolation with them in order to save them from themselves. Everything else is just backdrop and special effects. The whole point is that, in the end, Pho chooses Kaye over the universe, despite her problems, despite it being inconvenient, despite everything.

That's really it. A grand adventure to show one good man loyal and loving no matter what.

In a world full of duplicity, shallow relationships, loneliness and broken hearts, I thought that emotion, that moment, that Ideal was worth spending four years of my life illuminating somehow. That's all there is to it.


Now, there is one big problem for Jennifer or Stephen, and I hope I'm not being a troublesome nag to bring it up twice in a short amount of time since I mentioned it in a long winded antsy Mitsyspeak PM. The main page is hiding this ending (as in people who check in casually for updates without checking the forum aren't likely to see it)! The front page at pasteldefender.com still shows the apology! (also, you probably want to make sure that the archive page stops showing the ending after a while, so new readers don't always wind up seeing the ending first).


I'm not seeing any of this - try reloading the page, perhaps. Some browsers need to have their cache flushed and the page reloaded.

Additionally, there is a linking issue on the forward/back buttons still - forward from 368 goes to the main pasteldefender.com page. On the pasteldefender.com page, as afforementioned showing the apology, pushing back takes us to 368- so the back and forward buttons don't let us see the ending at all. The ending page, at the top of the archive page, goes back to 367 as it should, but that's the only working part- 367's next button goes to the 368 (by itself) page.


Again, not seeing this at all. For me 368 goes to 369. Try reloading.
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Re: To Save Her - THE END

Postby Jennifer Diane Reitz » Mon Jul 20, 2009 4:31 am

Volair wrote:I say all this so you will understand that what I'm about to say is not a backhanded compliment: This is the first time you've really stuck an ending RIGHT.


Thank you utterly, dear Volair.

That is what I most wanted to achieve, and what I most feared I would fail at (again).

I am never satisfied with my work, but I am especially dissatisfied with my endings - losing the exact ending to Unicorn Jelly has thrown me ever since. I cannot say I ever feel competent - I just keep plugging along, doing my best, hoping things will work out.

The idea that maybe I finally bagged a decent and proper ending is a dream come true.

This is the first story that I had an ending pegged from the start and then managed to somehow actually get there intact (more or less).

I will learn from this.
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Re: To Save Her - THE END

Postby Jennifer Diane Reitz » Mon Jul 20, 2009 4:35 am

Ashes wrote:You made me get all misty-eyed at the end.


Hearing that is like winning the Story Lottery, and being able to retire in splendor in a Writer's Castle. By the sea. And there's an onsen in the back right out of some anime, too.

Thank you.
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Re: To Save Her - THE END

Postby strange_person » Mon Jul 20, 2009 6:51 am

My opinions on this matter are largely in agreement with the people here with whom I am in love (you know who you are, everyone else will have to guess). Well done, Jennifer.
W!!

However, there's something odd about the credits page. As already mentioned, Chou is conspicuously absent, and just listing "Uni/Only" does something weird to the mystery component of that side of things.
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Re: To Save Her - THE END

Postby draque » Mon Jul 20, 2009 7:38 am

Congrats on tying this one up, Jenifer! I always enjoy seeing the end of a "puzzle" story to see what last tidbits of information the author leaves for the readers ponder over. ^^
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Re: To Save Her - THE END

Postby Mitsukara » Mon Jul 20, 2009 4:08 pm

Oh yeah, that credit for Uni/Only is a very nice touch indeed now that I'm reminded of it! It still doesn't say anything blatant of course- is it just the same character playing the same role, or is it the same character, or..?? (the comparison between page 1 and the final page is pretty beautiful and a bit of full circle for the front and back of the book, also)

Also, the page links are all working perfectly now. Not quite sure why it was all buggered for me last night. As long as, presumably after a time, the main page and archive hide the ending from the eyes of new viewers stumbling in (Unicorn Jelly and Pastel already do that, so I figure that's a matter of time), all's well with the site structure.

It also dawns on me that the long-used Pasteldefender.com is not going to be used anymore. Wow. Onto Ika Takozushi (after a while)!

Thanks to Jennifer, for the kindly detailed replies and the wonderful stories to date. I look forward to seeing more ^.^
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Re: To Save Her - THE END

Postby Verreaux » Tue Jul 21, 2009 4:38 am

Congratulations, Jennifer, on a triumphant conclusion to a massive project.
On a story well told, from beginning to end, weaving together old friends and new ideas.
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Re: To Save Her - THE END

Postby Aster Azul » Tue Jul 21, 2009 6:54 am

Congrats, congrats, congrats!! Good work, good work, good work!
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Re: To Save Her - THE END

Postby Aster Azul » Tue Jul 21, 2009 7:18 am

You inspire us to be truly original, and to take nothing for granted! Some of the only truly hard xenocentric scifi! Someday you'll be recognized as the trailblazer you are, probably in the post-singularity future we are all reconstructed in.

If I can ever write something as inspiring, I will consider my life complete!

Congratulations on finishing your magnum opus!
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Re: To Save Her - THE END

Postby SilverFeathers » Tue Jul 21, 2009 10:15 am

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Re: To Save Her - THE END

Postby Wizard CaT » Wed Jul 22, 2009 3:01 pm

It wasn't really a sad ending, despite that you had said it wouldn't be a happy ending, Creatrix.
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Re: To Save Her - THE END

Postby Mitsukara » Wed Jul 22, 2009 6:14 pm

Well, I think the sad part of the ending was a bit earlier. Keeping in mind that the last several pages worth of strips could be said to be part of the ending, that includes what became of Virtue and Wailan (Pastel notwithstanding / perhaps not applying, that is). Also, this does kind of end with Kaye in a fancy mental institution depending on how you want to look at it (though that could change over time).
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Re: To Save Her - THE END

Postby Skatche » Wed Jul 22, 2009 6:55 pm

Well, damn. Congratulations on a job well done, Mrs Reitz. TSH was a fantastic comeback after PDH. (That shouldn't be taken as backhanded. PDH I'd compare to low-grade Heinlein, which is not so bad; TSH was somewhere around low-grade Philip Dick, which I'd read and savour anytime).

I'm curious: had you kept on with Pho being in league with the Ascended Unity, would it still have ended the same, with him rushing off to find Kaye? Or would it have diverged entirely?
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